DevHints

Obtaining and Retaining Clients for Freelancers

Posted on: October 22, 2006

If you’re a freelancer and you’ve ever had problems obtaining or retaining clients, or if you’re new to web design and you’re considering freelancing, this article is for you. I’m going to give you some great tips on how to get new clients and keep them coming back for more.

Obtaining new clients can be a challenge. Some freelancers do fine advertising their services on relevant websites and rely on potential clients contacting them. Others are more aggressive and like to go out and find clients instead of waiting for them to come to you. Either way, you still have to convince the client that you are the person they want working for them.

How can you do this? Be available. Its always easier to see someone who is doing it wrong and make sure you don’t do what they are doing, and that’s how I learned. Most Indian programmers have a language barrier, considerable time zone difference, and high-international rates discouraging you from calling them, so we should make sure we speak with impeccable grammar, punctuality, and spelling. We should ensure that we respond to emails within 3-6 hours at the most, and that we’re available via telephone at any hour of the day or night (weekend or weekday, the internet still runs). This alone will make people feel better about choosing you as their developer.

In addition to the tips above, you should make sure you are always open and honest with your clients. Don’t tell them you can complete a project that you aren’t sure of every single step. Explain to them exactly your understanding of their needs and have them verify to ensure everything goes smoothly. Give the client details on how everything will work, including the use of diagrams if relevant. Your potential clients will have no doubts about your ability to complete the job, and they will be confident that you are the developer they should go with.

Now that you have the job, you should continue to show your client the same level of communication that you have been. Give them an update daily (or every few days if it is a very large project) on where the project is. Don’t be afraid to call them up and speak with them personally to reassure them everything is going just as planned. Trust me here, they will appreciate it.

So you’re finished with your project and your client is satisfied? Great! You’re still not done! Give them a few weeks to use their new application/website/etc before giving them a follow up call to ensure everything is going well. Ask if there’s anything that they would like changed or any other projects they might like your assistance with. Chances are, they will request additional work on the same job or tell you about another project they are working on. If you don’t catch my drift, you can encourage repeat business this way!

Why is repeat business important though? Well, most of your work is already done for you. You already have the client in your pocket and you don’t need to convince them you are right for the job, and if you work on the same project, you should already know most of the code! Repeat business is much more profitable!

If you follow these tips, you can charge 3-5 times the rates of other developers or more! I’ve never had a problem gaining a client at a rate of $100/hr, and I’ve gained several at $300/hr! Good luck!!!

First you have to find someone that has a problem and is seeking a solution that you can provide. Then you have to get in contact with them and sell them on your ability to complete the solution, and convince them that your price is worth it. Even after you’ve obtained the job, it’s not all coding from there on. You’ll still need to keep your client updated on the status of the project, and after the project is finished, you should give them a call a few weeks later to make sure everything is running as intended.

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